Preserving the History of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, Washington

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Bloom: Something Smells Good in the Locks Gardens

Notes from the Carl S. English, Jr. Botanical Garden for January 2010.

Just back in December before that week of cold weather we had over 20 plants blooming. Some were blooming out of season, but now we are seeing the usual mid winter blooms.

Last Thursday while walking past the Administration Building, a fresh sweet scent was on the air. It took a few minutes to locate the source but we finally did.


The Sarcococca in bed 305 planted under the Idesia polycarpa (tree #7 on 'World Tour') is currently blooming and sending the sweet smell along the promenade.

Chimonanthus praecox

In bed 318 near the warehouse east of the rose garden the Chimonanthus praecox (Winter Sweet) is opening up its pale yellow flowers. Just above that is Hamamelis japonica (Witch Hazel), which is not quite ready to bloom.

Camellia reticulata

Surprising at this time of the month is the one pink red bloom of the Camellia reticulata that is right up against the same building.

Viburnum x bodnantense

In planting bed 319 the Viburnum x bodnantense on the corner of the building has lots of flowers, though many are starting to fade.

Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' (not the exact one mentioned)

In the north nursery to the right just after the main entrance you can find a nice example of Garrya elliptica, the long catkins hanging down showing why the common name is Silk-tassel bush.

At the top of the stairs from the lock wall to the right of the house in the rockery (bed 119) the Osmanthus heterophyllus (False holly) is just opening its tiny white blooms. The fragrance is weak, but as more flowers open there should be more fragrance wafting on the breeze.

Over the next few weeks we will see more plants starting to bloom. We will keep you posted via this blog.

See Also
The pamphlet "Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden World Tour" is available in the Visitor Center.


  1. Wow!! Great article!!! Makes me want to go over and see the plants in person...

  2. Beautiful Flowers, I have been trying to grow these very diffrent looking plants, but have had no luck.

    Locksmiths Camden


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